Author Wanted for Questioning In Connection With Murder

( Nearly 30 years after a poacher was shot and killed, Zambian authorities still want to speak with Delia Owens, the retired wildlife biologist who authored the 2018 novel “Where the Crawdads Sing,” whom they believe was a witness to the killing.

The recent release of the movie version of “Where the Crawdads Sing” has renewed questions about Owens’ conservation work in Zambia which was shrouded by controversy after the death of a suspected poacher in 1995 was captured on film.

The poacher was killed during an anti-poaching patrol that was part of a conservation project run by Owens and her then-husband, Mark. An ABC crew was filming a documentary on the Owenses at the time and captured the shooting on film.

After the ABC documentary aired in 1996, Zambian officials opened an investigation into the poacher’s death, but the victim was never identified and the case remains unsolved.

In a 2019 interview with Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic after her book was released, Owens said she had nothing to do with the poacher’s death and was never accused of anything.

Zambian law enforcement officials, however, have not closed the case and even now, would like to question Delia and her husband about the incident.

Jeffrey Goldberg recently traveled to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia where he spoke with Lillian Shawa-Siyuni, the director of public prosecutions who said the case remains open. She said everyone who was there, including Delia Owens, is still wanted for questioning in the case.

No charges were ever brought against either Mark or Delia Owens, or anyone else for that matter. Delia Owens said she wasn’t present at the time the shooting occurred.

But Zambian officials, determined to solve the case, would like to question Delia, her husband Mark, and Mark’s son Christopher Owens, who was also present at the time of the shooting, about what they know about the incident.

Zambian authorities told Jeffrey Goldberg that they don’t think Delia Owens was directly involved in the shooting of the poacher, but they do believe her to be a vital witness.